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  #1  
Old 10-10-2012, 04:30 PM
la_chica la_chica is offline
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Rescue Phal, could use some advice
Default Rescue Phal, could use some advice

I was just staying with my brother for a bit and rescued a Phal from his place, he is a straight-up plant killer. This is my first orchid but I have a lot of house plants. It would for sure die at his place so I thought to give it a chance at least.

It looked like it has not been watered in a long time, two leaves left, very soft and droopy. I watered it and today repotted it, slightly larger ceramic orchid pot with bark (which is what it was originally potted in). I watched some videos on repotme.com so I had some idea how to repot, and once I took the plant out of it's old medium I took off any clearly rotten roots. There were some yellow roots I was not sure about...they were not soft and mushy but not too healthy looking either. I cut some of them that were darker near the stem.

I also ended up cutting off one of the remaining leaves because it was turning black at the end, didn't want too because I know the plant needs some leaves but it was so unhealthy.

I just watered the little fellow and will place it in a bright but not-direct sun area. Any recommendations on how to nurse it back to life? The remaining leaf is not too bad, doesn't look great but at least not super soft and gross. Lots of the root looked very nice, green and fresh.

Attached is a photo I took during the repot and another of the plant with one leaf.

A couple of specific questions I have are:
Where is the best place to put this plant? My apartment in general is very bright, with lots of direct or indirect light. I know not to put it in the direct sun, but how much indirect? For example my kitchen is really bright, I could put it on top of the fridge where I have a couple other tropical plants. Otherwise, my living room is bright but I have curtains so it is not as harsh. Really I would prefer to keep it in the living room on my desk, then I am sure to see it regularly and keep up on the watering. FYI my entire apartment has West facing windows, with the exception of the bedroom, which has North facing. Bedroom has dark curtains, though, and is the least bright room in my apartment.

That's my second question, about the watering....I know it needs to dry out between waterings, and unfortunately I did not soak the bark before repotting. I live in a cold climate which gets very dry in the winter (fast approaching), although my apartment is really warm. I am happy to spray the plant on a regular basis as I do with some other tropicals.

I have been reading the thread "The Phal abuse ends here" and getting more advice from it.

Any other advice? I really want to save this little plant.

Thanks in advance,
La Chica
Attached Thumbnails
Rescue Phal, could use some advice-img_20121010_130943-jpg   Rescue Phal, could use some advice-img_20121010_130948-jpg   Rescue Phal, could use some advice-img_20121010_133813-jpg   Rescue Phal, could use some advice-img_20121010_133806-jpg  
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  #2  
Old 10-10-2012, 05:17 PM
Silje Silje is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by la_chica View Post
A couple of specific questions I have are:
Where is the best place to put this plant? My apartment in general is very bright, with lots of direct or indirect light. I know not to put it in the direct sun, but how much indirect? For example my kitchen is really bright, I could put it on top of the fridge where I have a couple other tropical plants. Otherwise, my living room is bright but I have curtains so it is not as harsh. Really I would prefer to keep it in the living room on my desk, then I am sure to see it regularly and keep up on the watering. FYI my entire apartment has West facing windows, with the exception of the bedroom, which has North facing. Bedroom has dark curtains, though, and is the least bright room in my apartment.

That's my second question, about the watering....I know it needs to dry out between waterings, and unfortunately I did not soak the bark before repotting. I live in a cold climate which gets very dry in the winter (fast approaching), although my apartment is really warm. I am happy to spray the plant on a regular basis as I do with some other tropicals.

I have been reading the thread "The Phal abuse ends here" and getting more advice from it.

Any other advice? I really want to save this little plant.

Thanks in advance,
La Chica
Hello and welcome to OB!

Initially I thought: "Well, this doesn't look too bad. The roots are very nice, and you can get very far with good roots when you're dealing with orchids".

But there's one thing...and it might be a huge problem. it looks like it had a spike (now cut off) coming out of the middle of the plant, from the heart, so to speak. But it's a bit difficult to see for sure. If that's the case, it could be the explanation why the plant is withering, despite good roots. It could be what is called a terminal spike. And...well, it might be a sign that it's about to close down the shop, despite all your good efforts. As far as I understand, phals with terminal spikes sometimes produce keikis and you're able to save at least an offspring, but if the spike is gone. Well...I don't know.

Still, it's worth giving it some time and TLC and to see what happens, right?

So regarding your questions, I leave rescue phals well out of direct sunlight and slightly darker than I where I keep my happy phals. People here will be able to provide you with more exact light measures. Perhaps even more important than light though, I would try to give it as high humidity as you can manage while still providing it with some air circulation. With so much roots, I'd definitely give it some Seagro or seaweed extract and I'd fertilize it regularly, weakly weekly.

I've reportted loads of phals into dry bark mix, I think I actually prefer that to pre-soaking it. The only thing is to remember that you need to water it very often in the beginning.

I'd put it in a clear plastic pot, if I were you, so that you can keep an eye on the roots and the bark and determine when you need to water from visual inspection. When the roots are turning silvery in color it is time to give it a good soak.

Last edited by Silje; 10-11-2012 at 03:28 AM..
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  #3  
Old 10-10-2012, 09:26 PM
la_chica la_chica is offline
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Rescue Phal, could use some advice
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Thanks for the response, Silje. I'll keep taking care of it and hope that the terminal spike issue doesn't mean death...I'm not clear on what it means for the terminal spike to be in bad shape. I'm only halfway through that "Phal abuse stops here" thread and whew! It's a lot of info.

So you think it's ok to transfer again so soon? I'll put it in clear plastic pronto if that is best for it. Also the people at the greenhouse I got my repotting supplies said don't fertilize it because the plant will be shocked already from the repot. But I'm willing to try anything on the plant. Hate to see it die.

Lots of conflicting info!
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Old 10-10-2012, 11:53 PM
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WhiteRabbit WhiteRabbit is offline
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It may grow another crown from the base. Re light, it should be very near the glass unless light is extremely strong, like a south facing window in winter, or completely unshaded west or east window, at least after it is in shape to bloom. Meanwhile it can do with less light, but still should be pretty near a window
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  #5  
Old 10-11-2012, 12:34 AM
LuvPhals LuvPhals is offline
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All those roots look great! I have not soaked any of my bark mix which was okay for mine because they were too wet. I waited for a month before I used the orchid food and then I used the very low numbers of 7-8-6 on the label. Still fairly new to orchids I have not heard of a terminal spike. She has such a nice lot of roots growing I hope the plant pulls through!
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Old 10-11-2012, 10:15 AM
la_chica la_chica is offline
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Rescue Phal, could use some advice
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Thank so much for your comments!

I have it in a good area, nothing too harsh but with a lot of light. Close to a window and I can perfectly pull the curtain a bit so she can look outside
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Old 10-11-2012, 10:02 PM
LuvPhals LuvPhals is offline
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Rescue Phal, could use some advice Female
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Pretty soon she will need a few sister orchids too! They are fun and you get addicted to fussing over your plants like crazy!
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